Fields of Concentration
The Program has recently finished streamlining its requirements. These guidelines present degree requirements copied from the USC catalogue and supplementary information to help students and faculty navigate through the program. The catalogue should be consulted first; the supplementary sections do not repeat those provisions.
The standing fields of concentration include American politics; comparative politics; international political economy; and international security and foreign policy. The candidate must satisfy two of these four standing fields by passing a written field qualifying examination. The student may satisfy the third field by completing three courses in one of these four, or may propose another field of study to be approved by the relevant faculty and the Ph.D. program director and steering committee. For example, students can design a third field that cuts across disciplinary boundaries or focuses on specific areas of political science and international relations beyond the standing fields. The Guidelines and program director can provide illustrations of this type of third field.
All incoming POIR students regardless of their research interests or fields of concentration are required to take the core courses consisting of one theory course and three methods courses. We recommend that all students take the theory course (POSC 530) and two methods courses (POSC 500 or IR 513, and POSC 600 or IR 514) in their first year. The advanced methods course can be taken in the student’s third year.
POIR offers the following fields of concentration:
- American Politics
- Comparative Politics
- International Political Economy
- International Security and Foreign Policy
- A Customized Third Field: A POIR student can choose to propose a customized third field, which is not an examined field. These customized fields should be created to help each student deepen his/her knowledge of a particular topic that cannot be acquired through the standing fields. We list below examples of customized fields, but other possibilities could also be imagined:
Culture, Gender and Global Society (CGGS)
Law and Public Policy
American Political History
Satisfying the foreign language requirement
If the primary field of concentration has the foreign language requirement, this requirement can be met by two years (four semesters) of college-level foreign language training (with minimum average grade of a B), by examination, or by establishing native-speaker status. Course work from any accredited institutions will be considered. Course units covered by POIR-funded fellowships, teaching assistantships, and research assistantships may be used for the language study required to develop proficiency. Language courses are not counted towards the PhD total course requirement.